Two days ago I’ve got the message that DVP Anoma Manuel is “exchanging her role with DVP outstations”, so she would no longer be DVP EKAS. I am suspecting that this is done so that in the case of media involvement the situation can be defended with the “she is no longer here” argument.
I can only hope that new DVP will understand the damaged condition of his employees and that he will, from now on, make their lives a little bit easier.
I do understand that managing a big and multicultural department, such as EKAS, is very difficult, but there are rather different managerial tactics to keep control over department than just bullying around, which is what Ms Anoma does. She may be in the company for a long time, she may did some favours to the management or presidency, she maybe knows the president himself, but she never had true knowledge or skills to be DVP.
I do understand that it is difficult to be a female “boss” among predominantly male managers, in an Arab country, and coming from Sri Lanka. I really do. You have to prove to others (men, mostly) that you are not just some “house maid”. You have to gain authority over predominantly male (and Arab) managers, you have to be strong and you have to play your role for a long time. You are, also, in the capitalist machine of making money and you are under great pressure not to make a mistake and lose some of that money. This is where skills and knowledge come to the scene, and they would help Ms Anoma to build successful department if she only had them.
Skills and knowledge are not something you are born with. You have to learn throughout your whole life. Moreover, you have to learn on your mistakes, to admit that you were wrong in some situations, swallow your ego, clear the dirt from your clothes and continue with a new attitude and a different approach. Ms Anoma went by easier way. She figured out that she has a power to punish employees for not “obeying” her, and she did it.
Obedience of managers and employees is not something you request in a modern, international company, especially if your employees are more educated, and sometimes, more skilled than you are and if they are coming from the countries with developed awareness of human and labour rights.
When I have asked Ms Anoma, on our meeting, why everyone is afraid of her when she walks around the airport, she answered “Maybe they are doing something wrong”. Really, Ms Anoma? You haven’t think for just one second, that you are the one doing something wrong? You have so little respect for employees that you keep them like a herd of scared cows waiting to be slaughtered?
The sad part is that Ms Anoma is just a product of the system. Yes, she did reach the position where she could change things and influence some members of the presidency, but as she did not learn anything from her past experiences, she just continued to stamp on her staff and anyone else who endangered her authority or position.
EK HR managers are the biggest disappointment. They are just dummies in the hands of managers. When staff expected salvation from HR managers, they just behaved repressive, failing to show any understanding for sufferings of their employees. They justified everything that Ms Anoma Manuel did, including forced overtime, although they know it is illegal. And they are coming from UK and Australia, countries with developed systems of human and labour rights.
At the end of the day, HR managers are just conducting meaningless surveys; dealing with resignations or terminations of the staff (this last role is specific for one mysterious HR manager by the name Karen).
They know nothing about other roles of HR management: staff motivation, establishment of organizational culture and communication, staff promotion, etc.
HR Managers became so lazy that their only (shocking) answer when someone is complaining is “why don’t you resign if you are not happy?” Or, when you explain them that staff is suffering, their only sarcastic response is “So, you are their voice?” (This is what I’ve got from HRM Michelle Carswell). So, why are you there, dear HR managers?
Bottom line: no one cares any more. For managers, EK became big cow for milking and living good lives with a lot of benefits, then going back to the home countries when there is enough collected milk to live nice lives back home. It leads to just one place – nowhere.
This is why someone has to take responsibility for all the mistakes and slavery culture built inside the company. Moving bad managers from one position to another and protecting them is not a solution. Bringing and keeping good managers, people with integrity and strong ethic system and nurturing internal culture of constructive opposition (not obedience) is a solution.